Newly elected MPs to gather in House of Commons for first time
Published 18/05/2015 | 09:01
MPs will gather in the House of Commons for the first time since the general election today, with the Tories forming a majority bloc on the green benches for the first time since 1997.
The initial hours and days of the 2015/20 parliament will be given over to pageantry and administration as preparations are made for the attendance of the Queen at next week's State Opening.
At 2.30pm, MPs will meet and wait to be summoned by Black Rod to the Lords to hear a Royal Commission ordering them to elect a Speaker - set to be a reappointment of the controversial John Bercow after an 11th-hour bid by the Conservatives to undermine his position before the election failed.
MPs will be led from the Commons by Sir Gerald Kaufman, the Labour MP who has taken over the mantle of Father of the House - an honorary title given to the MP with the longest unbroken service in the Commons.
Manchester Gorton MP Sir Gerald first entered the Commons at the 1970 general election. He has seniority over Ken Clarke (Rushcliffe), Michael Meacher (Oldham West and Royton) and Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) by virtue of being sworn in before them after the 1970 poll.
Once MPs have returned to the Commons, Sir Gerald will put a question "that John Bercow do take the chair of this House as Speaker".
If this is opposed, a division will be called - though Mr Bercow is expected to win any vote despite grumbling from some on the Conservative benches about his behaviour as Speaker.
In the unlikely event that Mr Bercow is defeated, elections for a new Speaker are pencilled in tomorrow. This would be done by secret ballot to determine who is the popular choice amongst MPs to take on the powerful post.
Once reappointed, Mr Bercow is likely to make brief remarks of thanks to MPs before adjourning the House.
In the Lords, peers will begin the process of swearing in throughout the afternoon. The House will sit until 7.30pm in order to enable Members to take the Oath of Allegiance, or to affirm.
Assuming no Speaker election is required, the Commons will next meet at 2.40pm tomorrow to begin the process of swearing in MPs.
They will first be summoned to the Lords to confirm their choice of Speaker. Mr Bercow will be the first to affirm or take the oath, followed by Sir Gerald, the Cabinet, shadow cabinet, Privy Councillors and then remaining MPs based on length of service.
Peers are also due to continue signing into the Lords tomorrow.
Wednesday's sitting of the House, from 11.30am, is likely to see the first newly elected MPs taking the oath of affirming. The process will continue from 9.30am on Thursday and, if not complete, from 2.30pm on May 26.
New MPs have received training in the Commons chamber on proceedings of the House and how to conduct themselves since arriving in Parliament fresh from victory at the general election.
The State Opening of Parliament will then take place on May 27. The Commons will meet at 11.25am to be summoned to the Lords to hear the speech, before adjourning until the debate begins at 2.30pm.
Debate on the speech, which will be opened by selected backbenchers, typically lasts for six days.